I know a girl who likes to rescue things. She can see the loveliness in a walloped-out armchair, an orphaned teacup, a badly-folded rumple of musty curtain. Her glowing kitchen has borne witness to the rescue of exotic marble lamp-stands, miscounted tangles of crochet, burning Christmas cakes.
Her hands are soft and always poised for kindness. They pour tea and pat shoulders. They pick up and stroke one-eyed hens that reek and fight. They offer warm biscuits, wordless shrugs of blanket.
Her eyes, soft smiling buttons, are this week raw and aching. Her little dog, rescued from hell and given twelve unexpected years, has died.
For over a decade, she clicked faithfully behind during night feeds, first steps, full years of growing a family, stoically submitting to being dressed like a character from Beatrix Potter, chased and threatened during uncontrollable barking fits with words as empty and light as swansdown, ridden, kissed to death, ignored in favour of other, more broken creatures. Her loyalty was legendary.
She was a tiny dog who leaves a hole that all the tea and blankets cannot fill. Sometimes, love so blurs our lives, that it becomes impossible to see who is rescuing and who is being rescued.